Divorce Train Wrecks, Fame Brief

Fame Brief: Michael Douglas’ Money Never Sleeps for Ex-Wife

Michael and Diandra Douglas

Diandra Douglas‘ $45 million divorce settlement from Michael Douglas in 2000 is one of the most expensive in Hollywood history. But greed is good, and Diandra hauled Michael back into court this summer ten years after their divorce to lay claim to 50% of his earnings from Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleep, released in theatres in September.

Yesterday a New York Supreme Court judge told Diandra that her greed is…misplaced:

Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Matthew Cooper ruled that a New York court was not the proper venue for the suit by Diandra Douglas. He dismissed her complaint on that narrow jurisdictional ground, without ruling on the merits of the case.

Diandra, 52, now has the option of re-launching the action in California, or of appealing Cooper’s decision.

Diandra’s argument  hinged on the meaning of whether Wall Street 2 is a spinoff or a sequel of the original Wall Street…

Let’s parse some words:

Under the terms of their 2000 divorce, Diandra Douglas is entitled to half of his future earnings for work he did while they were married, including spinoffs, and that includes the Wall Street sequel, Diandra’s lawyer, Nancy Chemtob, told a Manhattan Supreme Court judge in a hearing last week. “It’s the same character, the same title, just years later.”

His lawyer, Marilyn Chinitz, says a sequel is not the same thing as a spinoff, reports the New York Post.

Seems pretty obvious to me that spinoffs and sequels are not the same thing. Sequels include the number “II“ or “2“ in the title or use superlatives like Die Harder or 2Fast 2Furious. Spinoffs are usually worse than sequels because they squander the goodwill of the original by giving weak, secondary characters a new, worse setting, painful writing and terrible plots, like Joey the mortifying Friends spinoff or Golden Palace, a crime against humanity. Wall Street 2 is a sequel  both because its title includes “2” and it continues the NYC plotline of the original (though the writing has worsened).

The quibbling over spinoff v. sequel reminds me of one of those textbook trust and estate cases where the lawyer thoughtlessly inserts the words “now living” and inadvertently cuts a future-born child out of the will. Diandra’s old divorce lawyer should have known to include language that encompasses spinoffs, sequels and any other other creative works in which Michael Douglas reprises roles he originated or played during their marriage.  Rather than waste everybody’s time arguing points that she can win in Narnia, Diandra should instead focus on locating her old lawyer and punching him or her in the face. Alternatively, she should just  instruct her new lawyer to argue that the Gekko character was originally based off of her. Now there’s a winning argument.

And if you’re wondering why multimillionairess Diandra is unearthing a ten- year-old divorce settlement and embarrassing herself in the first place, Showbiz 441 has an interesting theory:

In fact, this column has learned that her Diandra deMorrell Douglas Foundation–with assets of about $1.5 million–was possibly looted by now imprisoned money manager Ken Starr.

It was Starr who maintained Douglas’s foundation. Her sudden need for money from ex husband Michael Douglas–ten years after their divorce–suggests that Diandra is one of Starr’s many celebrity victims.

If Diandra wants more money, she should try getting a job instead of globetrotting and relying on Hail Mary lawsuits to bleed an ex-husband. “Every thief  has an excuse,” Jacob Moore, Gekko’s protégé in Wall Street 2, and if Diandra squandered her settlement money or invested it with the wrong people, she had nobody to blame but herself.

Or her old lawyer.

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